Update 4:06 p.m. Gushing water from a sheared fire hydrant flowed unchecked for about 30 minutes at Beaumont High on Thursday night and flooding seeped into some rooms of the school's new $11.2 million class building, district and maintenance officials said.
But the damage was "negligible" thanks to good fortune and the actions of firefighters, custodians and others on site who helped deal with the flooding, said Ken Miller, director of maintenance and operations for Beaumont Unified School District.
Cal Fire Engine 22 responded to a report of a traffic collision involving a fire hydrant at Beaumont High at 6:26 p.m. Oct. 4, Melody Hendrickson of Cal Fire-Riverside County said.
A student on the Beaumont High homecoming committee accidentally backed into the hydrant, Beaumont Unified Superintedent Maureen Latham said.
The police department responded with the fire department to ensure there were no injuries, City of Beaumont spokeswoman Darci Mulvihill said.
The only classroom that took on a significant amount of water was the construction technology classroom, which has concrete flooring, Latham said.
Miller estimated water to the sheared hydrant was shut off between 7 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.
At one point, two Cal Fire engine crews stretched out hose line between the hydrant and the new, two-story classroom building, then charged the hose with water, forming a barrier between the flood waters and the new building, Miller said.
"I gotta thank those guys because they really did a super job by doing that," Miller said. "That hose was like a dam diverting water away from the building."
A Beaumont Cherry Valley Water District worker also responded. Water pressure to the rest of the high school's fire hydrants was restored by use of an isolation valve controlling flow to the sheared hydrant, Miller said.
Miller, two custodians, Mickey Valdivia of Beaumont Cherry Valley Recreation and Parks, and Sean Balingit of Bogh Engineering used squeegees and shop-vacs to get floodwater out of the construction technology classroom, Miller said.
Because the classroom had concrete flooring, not carpet, the remaining moisture dried out, Latham said.
The carpeted culinary arts classroom next to the construction technology classroom did not take on any water, Latham said.
"A little tiny bit seeped under the door jams of a couple other classrooms," Miller said. "Those classrooms have carpet, but the custodians shop-vacced that little bit right up. There's a large drain right outside the classrooms and it was taking in a whole lot of water, like it should."
Overall damage costs from the incident will be negligible, Miller said.
"The sheared hydrant had break-away bolts designed for this very reason, so we won't need a new hydrant," Miller said. "They had it back in place, working, and charged like all the other hydrants by 9 a.m. today."
The incident did not affect school Friday or homecoming activities planned for Friday afternoon and evening, Latham said.
"We were very fortunate it went under the door into the classroom with concrete flooring," Latham said. "There was no damage to walls or anything else to my knowledge."
The new 24-classroom addition houses career technology, history and social studies classrooms, Latham said. It first opened for the first day of school on Aug. 15.
Update 12:46 p.m. Cal Fire Engine 22 responded to a report of a traffic collision involving a fire hydrant at Beaumont High at 6:26 p.m. Oct. 4, Melody Hendrickson of Cal Fire-Riverside County said in a phone interview.
Posted at 12:41 p.m. A sheared fire hydrant at Beaumont High caused flooding on campus near the school's new, two-story education building, a parent who witnessed the flooding said.
Someone backed into the fire hydrant on campus near the tennis courts sometime before 6:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 4, said Christy Hendricks, whose son plays Cougars junior varsity football.
"We returned from the Beaumont Cougars vs West Valley Hemet game around 6:30PM and discovered someone had backed into the fire hydrant," Hendricks said.
"The beautiful, new addition to the school was the recipient of the water flow," Hendricks said.
Some boys on campus at the time wanted to run through the gushing water, which reached as high as 20-foot tall trees nearby, Hendricks said. She warned them not to, fearing they could be injured.
The sheared hydrant was adjacent to the new building, in the middle of the courtyard by the locker rooms, Hendricks said.
"We stayed at the school until the fire department, police and ambulance arrived...about 6:45," she said.
"I was assuming school would be canceled today, but it was not," Hendricks said. "I am sure there is a clean up crew trying to save carpet and drywall today or stayed throughout the night."
Beaumont Unified School District superintendent Maureen Latham was in a meeting Friday and not available to comment, her executive assistant said.
Stay with Banning-Beaumont Patch for more on this developing story.